For 20 years up to 2014, HFC Bank made profit and paid dividend to its shareholders.
However, the bank’s audited annual financial statements for the year ended 31st December, 2016 has showed a loss position of GH¢38,606,000 for the year ended 31st December, 2016, after recording a loss of GH¢39,241,000 in the preceding year (2015), according to the Thursday, March 30, 2017 edition of the Daily Graphic.
Some shareholders have posed questions as to what has gone wrong at the bank since the takeover by the Trinidadians in July 2015.
“Where are the signs of the promises made by the Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago? Why has the stock market punished the bank so severely from a high of GH¢1.78 two years ago to a recent position of 68 pesewas? Have there been any positive changes at HFC? Is SSNIT, the major shareholder, happy with its significant investment in the bank since its takeover by the Trinidadians?”
An interview with some major stakeholders, including past and serving employees, customers and shareholders, revealed that they were not enthused about the manner in which the bank had been managed over the past two years.
Since 2015, the best employees and customers have been lost to competition.
A staff rationalisation exercise was conducted after the takeover which allowed good employees to take advantage of the pecuniary award and leave the bank to join others in sector.
It appears the new culture brought down from the Caribbean is at serious variance with Ghanaian culture.
“Morale in the bank is currently at an all time low,” some disgruntled shareholders hinted.
It also appears the bank is on a downward direction but there is a board of directors chaired by the chairman of SSNIT, a major stakeholder.
Unfortunately, during the takeover, the board and management of SSNIT, were said to have assisted the foreign investor, Republic Bank, to appoint their surrogates as independent directors, representing minority shareholder interest and Ghanaian public interest.
The next AGM of the bank in April 2017 affords an opportunity for SSNIT and other major shareholders to insist on the appointment of a more independent board of directors.
Shareholders expect SSNIT to ensure that the original mandate of HFC in mortgage finance was not lost. They also called on SSNIT to correct any mistakes made in HFC Bank.
Meanwhile, no dividend has been recommended by the directors for approval by shareholders.